Asking for academic help for your child can be daunting because a) it can be intimidating to talk with someone you don’t know about your child’s struggles b) you don’t know how your child is going to feel about it and c) you know once you get an actual person involved, the financial investment goes up and the idea of throwing your money away on something that doesn’t work is exhausting. Here are three characteristics to be on the lookout for to make sure that any investment you make in support for your child will be totally worth it, whether you’re asking for help from an academic coaching practice like School Without Suffering, an academic support center at your child’s school, or another resource entirely.
- The School Without Suffering Toolkit
- Book a complimentary Student Success Roadmapping session
- Leave a review
Congratulations! You are at the end of School Stress 101 and are probably now the foremost expert in your parent friend group on school-related stress and anxiety.
You probably have thoughts about the next steps you are going to take to make sure your child is supported and on a path to success. Maybe you feel like you’ve got this for now, but you know you may need help in the future. Maybe you know that you need help now.
You know that I’m the Founder and Principal Academic Coach of School Without Suffering, and during all of the breaks this season, you’ve heard me talk about the School Without Suffering Toolkit. So, you know that we are one resource that is available to help support you and the student or students in your life, and you know one way you can access that help.
Getting your child started with the Toolkit may feel pretty easy. You just go online and purchase, no need to talk to anyone or explain what’s been going on. And that may be just what you and your child need right now.
But maybe you’re thinking you actually want to talk. And you want your child to talk with someone about what they’re struggling with and how they can do and feel better. Maybe you’ve seen your child learn an exceptionally valuable strategy, use it a few times, and then after a few days go back to their usual way of working as if they never learned the strategy in the first place and you want them to have ongoing support this time.
Actually taking that step can be really daunting because a) it can be intimidating to talk with someone you don’t know about your child’s struggles b) you don’t know how your child is going to feel about it and c) you know once you get an actual person involved, the financial investment goes up and the idea of throwing your money away on something that doesn’t work is exhausting.
So I want to do two things to help before we close out this season of the podcast. I want to tell you exactly how our initial conversations with parents go, what we ask parents, and our answers to their most common concerns. And then I want to share three characteristics to be on the lookout for to make sure that any investment you make in support for your child will be totally worth it, whether you’re asking for help from an academic coaching practice like School Without Suffering, an academic support center at your child’s school, or another resource entirely.
All that after one last break.
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Imagine your teen or tween getting a handle on their school-related anxiety (and no longer adding to yours).
We see it all the time: Procrastination, Staying up way too late doing homework last-minute, Falling grades due to missed assignments, School-related meltdowns…These behaviors are often directly related to anxiety. And I can confidently tell you that these DO NOT have to be a part of your life this school year.
The School Without Suffering Toolkit equips students with concrete strategies and exercises that they can learn step by step and then revisit whenever they need to during the school year.
With the Toolkit, your child will be able to re-evaluate stress that’s negatively affecting them, initiate and execute academic tasks with ease, foster a growth mindset, manage their time effectively and healthfully, and complete their most anxiety-inducing homework with confidence.
AND, with the option to meet with an expert, empathetic School Without Suffering academic coach when they need some extra support, students will always be able to use the tools in their toolkits how they need to, when they need to to do and feel better.
Visit schoolwithoutsuffering.com/toolkit and use discount code PODCAST at check out for 10 percent off your purchase.
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Let’s dig in to exactly what happens when a parent reaches out to School Without Suffering for help.
There’s a link on our website that says “Get In Touch,” and when you click that link you’re taken to a page that says “So that we can best help, please answer the following questions to the best of your ability. Then, choose a time and date for a complimentary consultation.” The page also shows that your appointment will be for a 30-minute 1:1 Student Success Roadmapping session, which we can do via video conference or phone, and the intended outcomes of the session are a custom success roadmap for your child, clarity, confidence, and focus for the school year, no more overwhelm or confusion, and the page also says that you’ll get an invitation to join the School Without Suffering Membership.
I told you I would tell you what questions we ask.
The questions we ask are: Your child’s first name and age, and whether you are very concerned, somewhat concerned, or not concerned about each of the following areas:
Organization and time management
Attention or concentration
We also ask if your child has had formal evaluation or any diagnosed learning difficulties. And then we give you a chance to add any other information you want us to have before we talk.
On the consultation call itself, we get to hear your story of your child’s academic history before we dive into creating their custom success roadmap and answering your questions.
The number one question that parents have at this point is will working with School Without Suffering add to their child’s anxiety because it is an additional thing they have to do. And we can always confidently answer NO because we teach students the skills that they need to do and feel better in the context of their school work. They never have anything additional to do and they will always leave our time together having gotten school work done more efficiently and effectively than they otherwise would.
The number two concern is making sure they are about to make a good investment, and this is where I want to share the three things you want to look for no matter where you are turning for support.
The First is Habit-building
We all know how hard it is to break habits that we currently have and start new ones. And when we learn a new skill in one context, and we’re not shown how to generalize that skill to other contexts, like our regular school day, there’s just no way we’re going to integrate that new skill into our daily habits in all the areas of our life where we need them.
This is why we are teaching the students the skills they need to overcome their school-anxiety in the context of completing their own school work. They are practicing effective behaviors in the context that they actually need to use them in.
The second thing to look out for is that the people you are turning to understand the Complexity of the Problem
School-related challenges are complex. Students need study strategies. But they also need to learn to manage their time and stay organized. They need to develop the mindsets that are going to help them stay positive and persistent. And they can’t just learn these things once and then use them perfectly going forward. They need practice. And when they’re just starting out, that practice needs to be expertly guided in the real context that they will need to use the skill in moving forward. Otherwise, they risk practicing the wrong way and spending their time counterproductively. And, students with school-related anxiety need that guiding expert to be both firm and understanding and to conduct their time with them in a way that leaves the student feeling affirmed and never feeling more anxious.
The last is flexibility.
Think back to being a new parent. When you picked up a book by an “expert” telling you how to get your baby to sleep more, cry less, or stop night feeding, were reading a “one-size fits all” approach. Maybe it worked for your baby! But maybe it didn’t and you abandoned it after one or two tries. And you know that strategy did not work for all babies.
A lot of resources are going to say that if your child follows the techniques exactly as they are taught, they will be successful. But the idea that it will make sense for all students to use any one technique in any one way is entirely unrealistic. One-size fits all solutions simply do not work.
That’s at School Without Suffering we never prescribe solutions to students. Instead, we offer strategies and alternative ways of thinking and we support our students to take what works for them and craft and refine their own solutions. We help our students think critically about how what we’re offering them and reflect on how what we’re offering them fits into their lives into the way that they want to work into what works for them and tweak what they need to tweak, take what works for them, leave what doesn’t, and really find their own solutions.
This approach is easy to see in the way we teach students to plan their time, which if you listed to Season 1 of the podcast, may sound familiar to you.
At the beginning of the week (Sunday or Monday), the student follows our directions to Brain Dump everything they have on their plate, then identify their top priorities for the week. Then, they create a detailed schedule for the week showing when they are going to do what. (Our directions walk them through how to do this so that their priorities are planned first and then everything on the Brain Dump gets its own spot on the schedule.)
After they plan, they do their best to follow that plan throughout the week without any pressure to do it “perfectly.” They just need to note what they’re able to follow easily and feels good, and to note anything that’s hard to follow or they’d like to do differently.
The next Sunday or Monday, they answer three reflection questions that help them determine what they’d like to plan the same way and what they’d like to do differently in the upcoming week.
Then they repeat.
And over time, they hone a system that really works for them, understanding that they have the skills to adjust as needed.
The bottom line is that the support that is going to be worth the investment is the guided, flexible, habituation.
Thanks so much for listening, and if you’d like to learn more about what School Without Suffering can do for your child, visit us at schoolwithoutsuffering.com and click Get In Touch for your free Student Success Roadmapping Session.
I’ll see you next time!